Jackson Wins Second Straight E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Title
Stevie “Fast” Jackson claimed consecutive E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod world championships after defeating points leader Brandon Snider in a heads-up quarter-final round at the Dodge NHRA Finals hosted by The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. However, the road to victory for the title in 2020 did not resemble his previous year’s championship at all. In 2019, Jackson arrived at the final round at The Strip with the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod World Championship locked up. But, just like everything else in 2020, it was a much more challenging year, and nobody seemed to know what was going to happen from one week until the next.
In the previous round at the 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals in Houston, Jackson qualified third but was eliminated in the opening round when Alex Laughlin posted a holeshot win with a .025-second reaction time. This season’s hottest Pro Mod driver, Brandon Snider, who was fresh off his first-ever career win at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals advanced to the semi-final round before being eliminated. That allowed Snider to jump past defending world champion Stevie “Fast” Jackson heading to the final event of the season in Las Vegas. Snider arrived at The Strip leading Jackson by 26 points with Mike Janis trailing by 55 points and Khalid alBalooshi by 56 points.
Although you never know what’s going to happen at a Pro Mod race, this year’s final round at Las Vegas Motor Speedway had four race teams entering the final round with a chance to win the 2020 E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod world championship. Moreover, half of the six national events had gone to first-time Pro Mod winners. Chad Green got the ball rolling with a win in Indy followed by Brandon Snider at Texas Motorplex outside Dallas and Justin Bond’s victory at the SpringNationals in Houston. Nonetheless, Brandon Snider was the only driver of the four contenders who had not won a NHRA Pro Mod world championship. Steve Jackson is the defending world title-holder, Mike Janis is a two-time NHRA Pro Mod world champion, and Khalid alBalooshi won the world championship in 2011.
The final Pro Mod race presented by Strutmasters.com was the seventh event in a shortened 2020 season. Although teammate alBalooshi qualified Number One, Jackson ended the disrupted season with a strong statement. With both contenders working their way down the same side of the ladder, Jackson survived an opening round .005 ET holeshot by Jim Whitely to face off with Brandon Snider in a thrilling, winner-take-all quarterfinal matchup. Stevie “Fast” posted a dramatic victory with a 5.776 ET at 248.66 mph in his supercharged Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro compared to Snider’s 5.787 ET at 246.71 mph. In spectacular fashion, the 2020 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod world championship was won on the track by less than two feet. Once again, the doorslammer division, with its run-what-you-brung rulebook, proved that hundredths-of-a-second produces some of the world’s most exciting races.